Sociology Index

Sociology of Family

Books on Sociology of Family

Sociology of family is concerned with Family, Marriage, Children and Parenting, and other forms of close relationships. Sociology of family studies the social, cultural, political and economic impacts of changing families. Contemporary society is changing rapidly and we are seeing some relatively new forms emerge.

The "ideal image" of two biological parents and children living in harmony, is not realistic anymore. The family has many forms, therefore sociology of family must include the two-parent family, single-parent family, blended family, same-sex family and adoptive family. As an insitution family socializes individuals to be productive members of society.

Family has within its boundaries a set of norms, values, statuses, and roles which are organized or designed to guide or meet specific goals for the overall society.

As a social group, the focus is on each  individual members of the family in question. What each person brings to the family and how each person contributes to the relationships with other individuals in the family determines the reality within each family.

Everyone looks to his family for guidance, support, and a sense of belonging. Family is the most important social institution as it is our first encounter with socialization processes.

As a social system, the family is viewed as an entity which consists of various interrelated parts or statuses that perform particular functions or roles. Further, the family as a system is part of a larger system or society and contributes to its functioning.

Whether we examine the family as an institution, system, or group, studies in sociology of family begins with a fascination of the family entity and the relationships within its boundaries. One of the big issues or challenges within sociology of family studies lies in its definition.

There are growing numbers of so-called "variant family forms" in society. The family has many forms, like the two-parent family, single-parent family, blended family, same-sex family and adoptive family.

Marriage & Family Processes - Part of Trinity University's A Sociological Tour Through Cyberspace, this resource is organized into: the Spectrum of Families Relations across Cultures and Time; Cultural Factors Shaping Family Striker & Processes; Stages of Coupling; Relations between Husbands & Wives Through Time; Parenting; Singlehood and Alternative Family Forms; Other Family Players, Beyond the Nuclear Cast; Marital Disunions; Institutions Affecting and Affected by Family Systems; and general resources.

FAMILY, BOURGEOIS
A family system first emerging in the 16th and 17th centuries in the towns of Europe among the growing middle class of merchants, professionals and administrators. It later spreads to the working class during the industrial revolution. This family type is centred on private homelife, the relationship of the couple and their children and based on a clear division of gender roles, with men as chief income earners and women centred in the domestic world of home and family. For many conservatives this remains the ideal form of family.

FAMILY, CONJUGAL
A nuclear family of adult partners and their children (by birth or adoption) where the family relationship is principally focused inwardly and ties to extended kin are voluntary and based on emotional bonds, rather than strict duties and obligations.

FAMILY, CONSANGUINEAL
A family system of nuclear families linked through shared descent from a common ancestor. The individual nuclear families are bound into complex ties of obligation and daily activity with each other. Consanguineal families can be linked either matrilineally or patrilineally.

FAMILY, EGALITARIAN
A family system based on the equality of the participants and in direct contrast to the patriarchal family. It usually refers to an equal relationship between the adult partners, though it can mean permissive, rather than authoritarian, parent-child relationship. In North American families this family form is most likely to be found among young and well-educated couples. The term ‘symmetrical family’ is sometimes used as an equivalent. The concept is in many respects an ideal, rather than descriptive of typical or usual family relationships.

FAMILY, NUCLEAR
This has the same composition as the conjugal family, but the term ‘nuclear’ does not imply that the family is inwardly focused and relatively autonomous from extended kin as in the case of the conjugal family. Extended, or consanguineal (based on shared blood descent), families can be thought of as composed of linked nuclear families.